Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Little Babymouse and the Christmas Cupcakes: The first Babymouse picture book!

Today is the publication day for a very special book (and the last of SEVEN I'm putting out this year)—our first BABYMOUSE picture book!

It's called LITTLE BABYMOUSE AND THE CHRISTMAS CUPCAKES, and it's the first time we'll see our intrepid little heroine in full color (click to enlarge any of the images):



The story takes us BACK IN TIME ... (cue sci-fi sound effects) to a Christmas Eve when Babymouse was only four years old. Her little brother, Squeak, is a newborn, and has lungs that would put any roaring dragon to shame! On top of it all, Babymouse has "accidentally" eaten all of the cookies she set out for Santa, which leads her to an inspiration: She now has the chance to REALLY impress him by baking CHRISTMAS CUPCAKES!

Jenni and I had never done a picture book before (our board books like I'M GRUMPY and I'M SUNNY aside), and so this was a fairly intimidating project to undertake. Picture books are a particular species of book, and Jenni and I and the team at Random House had to work together to not only make a good picture book, but to make a story that could fit smoothly into the BABYMOUSE universe.

It went through a lot of changes, as you can see in my early color work, where I was looking to do more of a hybridization between paper and digital (overlaying my digital inks on top of scanned watercolor artwork):


And the final art, which sticks closer to the more vibrant and graphic "animation" style that readers of a comic book might be more likely to expect:


(It also throws in a bit of fun Holiday color in that page border!)

So, go pick up a copy of LITTLE BABYMOUSE AND THE CHRISTMAS CUPCAKES today! It's the perfect stocking stuffer for the little mouse in your house!


Monday, September 19, 2016

Marvin and the Moths!

I rarely seem to have the chance to slow down in my publishing career, and this year has been exceptionally busy. Well, the last several years, actually. But this year sees the publication of SEVEN of my books! So far this year, we've seen the first board books Jenni and I have created, I'M GRUMPY and I'M SUNNY; the second in our kids' comics anthology series, COMICS SQUAD: LUNCH!; the 20th Babymouse book, BABYMOUSE GOES FOR THE GOLD; AND the eighth Squish book, SQUISH: POD VS. POD.

Whew!

But we're not done yet. The next book is a special one. I've been working on it for 12 years. It's the first chapter book I've ever had published. And it's called MARVIN AND THE MOTHS:


It's a wacky horror-comedy about Middle School and, appropriately enough, I wrote it with a guy I've known since Middle School, my best friend Jonathan Follett. In the book, our protagonist, Marvin Watson, is having a terrible first day of Middle School when things get even worse: The recent arrival of a new baby brother forces him to move out of his bedroom and up to the (unfinished) attic of his small row home. There, he discovers that the attic already has residents: Giant, superintelligent, and very surly mutant moths. Who happen to love baseball. Their arrival coincides with a rash of animal disappearances throughout Marvin's home town of Butcherville, best known as the home of Pork Loaf International, makers of the Pork Loaf Log Roll and other popular processed food products. What sinister force is pulling these seemingly connected threads? To find out, Marvin enlists the help of some unlikely friends at school and the trio of sarcastic, bumbling insects that he can't seem to keep out of his new bedroom...

The book was inspired by a weird vacation he and I took with our wives at a cabin in Maine, one that involved abnormally large moths, sinks crawling with wolf spiders, powdered fruit punch mix, and processed breakfast meat. Jon and I wrote the book together, starting out writing in person at weekend writing sessions at his home in Massachusetts, and later moving on to a novel collaboration method that involves live-typing on a shared Google Docs file, where one person types and the words appear almost instantly on the other person's screen, whether the two are on opposite sides of the country or opposite sides of the globe (we wrote this way while I was living in China last spring).

I then went through and added chapter illustrations, which was another first for me (treating the illustrations more as a cherry on top of the story, rather than the way they operate in graphic novels, as a primary means of conveying information). 




The result is ridiculous, spooky, and—I hope—laugh-out-loud funny. 

The book debuts on September 27, 2016, so pre-order your copy now! In the meantime, visit www.marvinandthemoths.com to learn more and to read a free excerpt.

Oh, and here's a special bonus treat to whet your appetite: Our official BOOK TRAILER!


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

San Diego Comic-Con 2016

Hi gang! It's that time of year again, when all of us comics folk migrate to our zany home-away-from-home, San Diego Comic-Con!

If you're going to be there, here's where you can find me:

Make Your Own Story

Thursday July 21, 2016 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Room 24ABC
Kids! Join authors Jeffrey Brown (Lucy and Andy Neanderthal), John Patrick Green (Hippopotamister), Eddie Pittman (Red's Planet), and Judd Winick (Hilo) in an interactive storytelling hour, where you tell the story, and these authors draw it. Bring your most creative storytelling hats! Moderated by Jennifer L. Holm (Sunny Side Up).

(OK, so technically it's my sister's panel, but I'll probably be there to egg her on.)


Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards
Friday July 22, 2016 8:00pm - 11:00pm
Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront 
The 28th annual Eisner Awards (the “Oscars” of the comics industry) honor comics creators and works in 31 categories. With special guest host John Barrowman (Arrow, Torchwood), presenters will include actors Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica), Annie Wersching (Vampire Diaries, 24), Drew Roy (Falling Skies), and Chris Gorham (Covert Affairs, Once Upon a Time); Beau Smith and the cast of Wynona Earp; voice actor Phil Lamarr (Futurama); Hall of Fame nominees Lynda Barry and Matt Groening; beloved cartoonist Sergio Aragon├ęs (Groo, MAD), and several nominated creators. Other prestigious awards to be given out include the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award, the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comics Writing, and the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award.

More importantly than any of those quote-unquote FAMOUS PEOPLE, our book SUNNY SIDE UP is nominated for an Eisner Award! Also, this is the first time Jenni and I will be PRESENTING Eisner Awards. So look for us onstage, probably mispronouncing people's names, possibly stammering out thanks for our own award (fingers crossed!).


Dig Deep
Saturday July 23, 2016 10:00am - 11:00am
Room 28DE
Graphic novels for children and young adults are tackling thorny subjects that relate to real kids. Comics creators discuss the deep subjects raised by their graphic novels and why these have become so popular. Moderated by Meryl Jaffe (CBLDF,Raising a Reader and Using Graphic Novels in Education), panelists include Cece Bell (El Deafo), Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm (Sunny Side Up), Nathan Hale (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales), Gene Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, Coders), and MK Reed.

Actually, I'm the one who will be moderating this panel, in a last-minute substitution. So come out and listen to us all chat about the challenges of dealing with serious subject matter in children's graphic novels!


Calling All Kids: The Great Draw-Off
Sunday July 24, 2016 10:00am - 11:00am
Room 30CDE
A panel of bestselling kids' comics creators engage in a live draw-off with audience participation. Perfect for kids of all ages! Featuring comic greats Jeffrey Brown (Jedi Academy), Nathan Hale (Hazardous Tales), Dana Simpson (Phoebe and Her Unicorn), Lucas Turnbloom (Dream Jumpers), and Judd Winnick (Hilo). This interactive experience will by moderated by sibling duo Jennifer and Matthew Holm (Babymouse, Sunny Side Up), with color commentary and sound effects by Tom Racine (Tall Tale Radio podcast).
 
Sunday is Kids' Day at Comic-Con, so bring your children out to this crazy free-for-all of a panel! Jenni and I will call audience volunteers up to help our pros draw wacky comics on the spot. Who will be the greatest??? (YOU, of course, if you come out!)


See you at the Con!

Monday, May 9, 2016

TCAF 2016!

Hi all! I hope you'll be able to join me this year at the always-amazing Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF) this coming weekend, May 14 and 15!

Actually, for any teachers and librarians out there, you can meet me a day early at the Librarian and Educator Day on Friday, May 13. I'll be part of the 10:15am panel, "Touchy Subjects":

10:15AM
Comics 201: Touchy Subjects 
Comics, like other forms of literature, sometimes cover tough subjects like death, race, sexuality, gender identity and poverty. But do comics that cover challenging or controversial subjects face more scrutiny than other texts on the same subjects? A roundtable discussion between writer and sex educator Cory Silverberg, educator Fatma Faraj, comic artist Matt Holm and children’s librarian Scott Robins will look at what subjects comics are covering and how this fear of certain subjects plays out differently with comics than with other media.
Even if you're not coming for L&E Day, I'll be around plenty this weekend, doing more presentations and signing books like BABYMOUSE GOES FOR THE GOLD, COMICS SQUAD: LUNCH, and even our new "My First Comics" board books series for the very young, I'M GRUMPY & I'M SUNNY. Here's the rundown:


SATURDAY, MAY 14
11AM Book signing at Little Island Comics Table, Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library

SUNDAY, MAY 15
11AM Book signing at the Penguin Random House table (#113)  

12:15PM Panel: Memoir for Kids: "Raina Telgemeier (Smile), Tillie Walden (A City Inside), Matt Holm (Babymouse), Dasha Tolshikova (A Year Without Mom), have scrapbooked the life lessons they learned in their childhoods for comics consumption. How do you best package memories that are both close and far away, in a way that is purposefully impactful to young lives growing up like you? Moderated by Mariko Tamaki. Marriott Forest Hill Ballroom

3PM Spotlight Presentation: including talking about my books and doing live drawing with audience members! In the TCAF Kids Area, Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library

4PM Book signing at Little Island Comics Table, Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library

See you there!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I'm Grumpy & I'm Sunny!

Hi gang! Well, the new year is running away from me already. I've been hard at work on too many projects to count, like SQUISH: POD VS. POD and half a dozen other things that it's still too early to talk about. BUT... I almost forgot to mention an exciting new project that Jenni and I just released to the world last month: MY FIRST COMICS!



The first two volumes in this new series of board books for the just-learning-to-read are called I'M GRUMPY and I'M SUNNY. They're the perfect baby gift!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

SPECIAL: Inside Squish! The SUPER AMOEBA comic book covers

Hi gang! I'm finishing up the eighth volume in the SQUISH series—SQUISH: POD VS. POD—and I thought I would share something special with you.

One of the central things about the SQUISH books is that, in each volume, Squish (our intrepid amoeba protagonist) is busy reading an issue of his favorite comic book series, The Adventures of Super Amoeba. The action in Squish's life is interrupted/paralleled by glimpses into the action of the comic book. And, in each volume, Squish reads a different issue of Super Amoeba.

But did you realize that each issue of The Adventures of Super Amoeba also has its own cover?

 

The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted Squish holding the comics, and been able to make out the teeny-tiny scenes on the covers. But today, for your enjoyment, I present all seven Super Amoeba covers, at full size!

 
from #1—SQUISH: SUPER AMOEBA


 
from #2—SQUISH: BRAVE NEW POND


from #3—SQUISH: THE POWER OF THE PARASITE


 
from #4—SQUISH: CAPTAIN DISASTER


 
from #5—SQUISH: GAME ON!


 
from #6—SQUISH: FEAR THE AMOEBA


 
from #7—SQUISH: DEADLY DISEASE OF DOOM


 ... and what's the cover for the upcoming #8—SQUISH: POD VS. POD? Well ... you'll just have to wait and see! (Truthfully, I have to go draw it RIGHT NOW.) 

Keep reading!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Bests of 2015!

Wow! What a great week it's been for SUNNY SIDE UP!


Our little book has made a bunch of Best of 2015 lists:
And ... SUNNY SIDE UP is back on the New York Times Best Seller list!

Thanks to everyone who made it possible—Scholastic Graphix, booksellers, teachers and librarians, and, of course, all those readers out there!

Friday, September 25, 2015

SUNNY SIDE UP is a New York Times Bestseller!

Exciting news this week: Our new graphic novel SUNNY SIDE UP is on the New York Times Besteller List!

 http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2015-10-04/paperback-graphic-books/list.html

We'll be at #10 for the week of October 4. Lucky thing I had this graphic already made up!

( I wonder if I'll have to make some other numbers...? Here's hoping!)